Last week while visiting in Vegas my son learned that Pete Rose does autograph signings at Mandalay Place. Being the dedicated baseball fans we are we headed over to see him. We got to the store he signs at and there he was sitting with one of his assistants. He had another assistant in the back of the store selling merchandise. My son bought a picture of Pete’s iconic 1973 fight with Buddy Harrelson. It’s a sports moment that I still remember. Pete beat the crap out of buddy, but the Mets won that huge playoff game. The Mets would make one of their three trips to the world series that year, so it was a good year.
After we bought the photo we went up to Mr. Rose. Once he learned we were from the town he played A ball in he rattled off the name of the park and all the other old NY Penn league teams. He also remembered what he hit that year and noted how “little” Tony Perez was that team’s second basemen. We then asked him if he thought Jeter had a chance of breaking his hits record. He pretty bluntly said, “No.” All in all we talked for about 10 minutes it was cool. We did say that we thought he deserved to be in the Hall of Fame. He just nodded and smiled.
The Hall of Fame talk wasn’t just lip service. I do believe Pete’s stats speak for themselves: more hits than anybody in the history of the game, a 16 time all star, 16 seasons in the top 20 of the mvp vote, all star at three different positions, his Hall of Fame Monitor number is 311, 13th best all time. Yes he bet on baseball games, but he bet on his team to win. People in Hall’s of Fame have done worse. Put Pete in.